Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata has told TIME magazine that most Nintendo “smart device” games will be developed in-house, rather than by partner DeNA. The company announced on Tuesday that it would finally start making games for smartphones and tablets.

Development of smart device games will be mainly done by Nintendo […] DeNA has extensive know-how in developing the “service” side of things, and will be primarily responsible for the service-oriented operations. We will be able to greatly leverage strengths of each party.

Iwata also confirmed Jeremy’s view that we’re unlikely to see classic Nintendo games like Mario, Donkey Kong and Zelda come to iOS and Android devices in their original forms … 


Iwata said that smartphones and dedicated games devices were different platforms, and he believed people wanted different things from them.

My understanding is that, on smart devices, the main demand is for very accessible games which smart device users can easily start and easily finish. These are not necessarily the characteristics that people demand from games for dedicated video game systems. Actually, this is one of the reasons why we believe that we should not port games for dedicated game systems to smart devices just as they are.

He added that it was not yet possible to say whether Shigeru Miyamoto, creator of many of the classic Nintendo games, would be involved. The company has also not yet decided whether it will take the freemium route, he said, but would be cautious if so.

The free-to-start type of business model is more widely adopted for games on smart devices, and the free-to-start model will naturally be an option for us to consider [but] Nintendo does not intend to choose payment methods that may hurt Nintendo’s brand image [and it’s important that] parents feel comfortable letting their children play.

Iwata said that the company’s planned “online membership service” would operate across devices–Nintendo game systems, smart devices and PCs–from the fall. The service would, he said, be operated by DeNA.

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